Rural Economy

Rural Economy

America’s small towns and rural communities are an important part of the backbone of the U.S. economy. From farming to manufacturing, rural communities help to drive our nation’s productivity. Yet despite their importance to our economy, rural America’s infrastructure is falling further and further behind. Of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, 48 are rural. Senator Casey is an advocate for ensuring these communities have the tools they need to thrive in a 21st Century economy, and he has been working to help boost counties’ and localities’ ability to help residents live healthy and productive lives and have access to the ladder of opportunity. We need to do more – not less – to strengthen our communities and help working families.

Infrastructure

  • Job creation in rural areas can only occur when there is infrastructure in place to support growing industries, but rural economies often struggle to support capital-intensive projects. Senator Casey has consistently advocated for strong funding for infrastructure development in rural areas. Senator Casey supported the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, which included $625 million in funding dedicated for infrastructure investments in Rural America.

  • Senator Casey supports the Senate Democrats’ Jobs and Infrastructure Plan for America’s Workers, which allocated over $175 billion dedicated for new investments for Rural America.

  • Senator Casey offered an amendment to a recently enacted tax bill to provide $500 billion in infrastructure bonds. Among other things, these bonds could be used for rural broadband, repair and replacement of water infrastructure, road and bridge repair, and repair and construction of rural schools and community colleges. The amendment was defeated on a party-line vote.

  • Senator Casey is a strong advocate for the Community Development Block Grant. This program allows many rural communities to develop much-needed affordable housing opportunities, upgrade infrastructure and engage in innovative economic development. In 2018, Pennsylvania received $186 million in CCDBG funding.

  • Senator Casey successfully advocated for funding for USDA’s Rural Water and Waste Disposal Program, which supports construction of waste and drinking water infrastructure. In 2018, this program provided Pennsylvania with $16.09 million in funding to support 5 projects.

Economic Development

  • Senator Casey is a strong advocate for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which in FY 2018 provided $5.38 million in funding for 46 projects in Pennsylvania.

  • Senator Casey successfully advocated for an increase in funding for the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The EDA helps to address specific economic development challenges facing rural communities in the Commonwealth today. In 2018, Pennsylvania received 10 investments totaling over $8.6 million.

Broadband

  • Senator Casey strongly supports efforts to expand broadband access to areas currently lacking it. In 2018, he led 16 of his colleagues on a letter asking the President to prioritize rural broadband buildout in his infrastructure proposal. The funding bill signed in February 2019 included $550 million for a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) at the Department of Agriculture.

  • Senator Casey cosponsored an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill that would increase authorized funding levels for the RUS rural broadband program from $150 million to $600 million annually.

  • Senator Casey has joined his colleagues on numerous letters asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase federal support available for the Rural Health Care Program, which helps provide the broadband services necessary for the provision of health care, and the High-Cost Program, which helps support broadband deployment to rural and remote areas.

Latest

  • Casey Releases Community Breakdown of New Coronavirus Funding for PA

    Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement to announce that Pennsylvania will receive $170.65 million in new funding from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs as a result of the latest coronavirus relief legislation: Read More


  • Casey, Collins Introduce Bill to Expand Nutrition Assistance for Children and Mothers

    Recently, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bill to extend nutrition assistance for vulnerable infants, children and mothers across the country. The Wise Investment in our Children (WIC) Act would address a gap in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) that kicks young children off vital nutrition assistance before they are eligible to start school. The WIC Act would also give states the option to certify infants and postpartum mothers for two years, which would reduce duplicative paperwork and allow program administrators to focus on providing services such as nutrition counseling and breastfeeding support. Read More


  • Casey, Colleagues Meet With Miners to Take Action As Black Lung Resurges

    Following recent studies showing increasing prevalence and severity of black lung disease among coal miners and deteriorating financial viability of the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) hosted a roundtable discussion with miners and families affected by the disease. During the discussion, Senator Casey introduced the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act (S. 2205) that would ensure miners' can access essential health and disability benefits. Read More


  • Casey Backs $15 Min Wage, Continues Push For Working Families

    Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is announcing his cosponsorship of legislation that aims to give working Americans a fair shot. Specifically, the Raise the Wage Act would raise the federal minimum wage to $15.00 by 2024 and eliminate subminimum wages for young workers and workers with disabilities. Read More


  • With Farm Bill Soon To Be Law: Casey Secures Key Wins for PA Farmers

    Following Senate passage of a bipartisan Farm Bill, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, is announcing a number of critical wins for Pennsylvania farmers, families and rural communities. Among other legislative provisions authored or pioneered by Casey, the law will include measures that address senior nutrition needs, improve conservation efforts and work to protect water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and across the Commonwealth. Read More